Wildly entertaining ... Tweedy refuses to let himself off the hook—with breathtaking candor, he writes about how his opioid addiction led him to making horrifying decisions ... an intensely charming book, leavened by Tweedy's dry, sometimes goofy, sense of humor ... it's Tweedy's earnestness and bravery...that makes his memoir so unforgettable ... Tweedy's music has never shied away from darkness, but he's also never been afraid to celebrate joy. The same is true with this remarkable memoir—it's a wonderful book, alternately sorrowful and triumphant, and it's a gift not just to his fans, but to anyone who cares about American rock music.
Much like Tweedy knows songs should have meanings, he knows a memoir should have anecdotes that speak to who he is as a person. And while Tweedy provides those, they are often minor moments, the kind that imprinted deeply on him but could seem like random recollections to anyone else ... Tweedy’s writing is at its most evocative when he’s explaining how the songs he loved changed his worldview and pushed him to become a musician ... The self-deprecating memoirist is in itself a cliché, but it’s telling just how authentic Let’s Go feels when taken as a whole ... The stories he elects to tell may be frustrating for fans who want to learn more about, say, the creation of specific Wilco albums, but it offers a compelling portrait of an artist whose everyman nature proves to be anything but a front.
Let’s Go...unflinchingly describes Tweedy’s lowest point ... Tweedy dishes...expressing compassion for the men he’s fallen out with, taking some measure of the blame, but also strenuously arguing his side of the story—in much the same folksy, straightforward, shockingly funny manner that the rest of Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) is written in. Dad jokes are aplenty, as are self-deprecating and sarcastic asides, even in the darkest passages ... For fans who know Tweedy largely through his abstruse poetry about murder, bloody needles, and 'tongue-tied lightning,' the breezy tone will come as a shock, which is probably the point.
But in his new memoir, the leader of Chicago’s long-running band Wilco isn’t interested in the usual rehashings of life and career. Those expecting lots of backstage dish will have to settle for his account of being mistaken for an usher at the Grammys by Sean 'Diddy' Combs ... Tweedy... is much more interested in examining the painful lessons he has learned from his life as a songwriter and a family man. In this he succeeds in entertaining and oddly revealing ways, moving with shape-shifting ease from wry self-effacement to what he calls Midwestern sarcasm to naked confession ... Considering Tweedy’s life-threatening addictions and his wife’s frightening bouts with cancer, you can understand why such distant events might lose some of their edge. 'Leaving behind as many of the myths surrounding suffering and art as I possibly could was the only path forward,' he writes. This book is a significant step in that direction.
So, maybe Mr. Tweedy doesn’t make for the smoothest, most easy going cocktail party guest. His writing, however, could not be any more inviting and engaging, full of voice and rich, vivid storytelling. Mr. Tweedy wastes no time with typical autobiographical minutiae and only roughly works through his life chronologically. Instead, he composes lengthy chapters that dive deep into explanations of his songwriting and recording process, the pain and joy of his upbringing and his attempts to grapple with addiction, marriage and parenthood ... Perhaps most striking, given his reputation for not suffering fools in his audience or at the interview table gladly, is how genuinely, and darkly, funny Mr. Tweedy can be ... If Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)
Read Full Review >>
Tweedy's childhood and time in Uncle Tupelo takes up the book's first half, and its second is packed with more activity than he can fully do justice to. It's a whiz of a read, and it's where he finds his footing as a writer. He drops the occasionally jokey approach that inserts a sometimes uncomfortable distance into the book's first 100 pages and settles into a more direct approach for telling the story of his adult life and the creation of the band that brought him wider success ... Far from a typical rock memoir, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) is an engaging story of personal and artistic collaborations that sometimes fail and that sometimes succeed beyond his wildest dreams. And more often than not, manage to do both at the same time.
Tweedy’s playing down of his own suffering is an enduring motif and, on occasion, leads to the odd narrative glitch. At one point he starts to refer to one of his brothers, Greg, in the past tense, but omits to tell us when and how he died ... Elsewhere, Tweedy’s hesitant tone reveals the push and pull between his desire to be as honest as possible and wanting to draw a veil over his less salubrious moments ... Vulnerability may be Tweedy’s calling card as a songwriter, but he takes a long time finding it here.
Even in the low-stakes realm of indie rock memoirs, Jeff Tweedy has elevated the form with his remarkably candid and compelling book ... universalism, which runs throughout Let's Go (So We Can Get Back), is what makes it so refreshingly instructive ... there's never a page in this thing that doesn't feel true ... exhibits a combination of wit, candour, passion, humility, useful wisdom and genuine care that's rare in such endeavours and a testament to Jeff Tweedy's inspirational artistic vision.
Fans will appreciate early sections recounting the search for obscure albums and the necessity of playing dilapidated venues ... provides lessons in making art from a person who needed to create in order to combat loneliness and despair. At times, the writing meanders, though this could equally be described as the book’s changing tempo, as it alternates between plot-driven sections and more ruminative pieces. The introduction, moreover, is discordantly jokey. Sincerity is what bolsters this book. Tweedy writes movingly about his parents, his wife and children, and his desire to find an artistic home for his band ... Thoughtful, earnest reflections on family, creative integrity, and a life in music.